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That’s an additional 125 hotels where you can get online without incurring an annoying daily fee, ranging from an historic palace in Jaipur (above Rambagh Palace) to the Pierre in New York. The change covers Taj Hotels, Vivanta by Taj, Gateway Hotels, and Ginger, for the duration of your stay on up to three devices.
The set up sounds very much like what we’ve seen at Four Seasons, with basic internet for emails, social media, and surfing the web included. If you need higher bandwidth, or want to connect further devices, you can upgrade to a “premium tier” for a fee.
Once again, Virgin Hotels is
harassing driving by other hotels in town, flaunting what they got. This time, it's free WiFi which will be available for every guest at the Virgin Hotel Chicago when it opens in January.
Virgin took the streets of Chicago in a branded van the other night and parked at the intersection of Wells and Adams St., which is conveniently near both the JW Marrioott and the W City Center hotels, two hotels that charge for WiFi in the guest rooms. (Although, internet access is available in the lobby for free.)
But not only did Virgin be like, "Look what we have that they don't have!", they also offered free high-speed WiFi from the van so passerbys could experience the Virgin WiFi network.
Virgin will also not charge for early departure fees, room service delivery fees, minibar stocking fees, and business center fees so expect this van to come back around. again.
[Photo: Virgin Hotels]
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The reason we were all "meh" about Marriott Hotels' wireless phone chargers a few weeks ago was simply because Marriott is still charging for WiFi up in the guest rooms. But it looks like they've had a change of heart because...
Marriott International will be giving all members of its Marriott Rewards program free WiF at all Marriott brands (about 3,800 hotels) starting on January 15, 2015. #stunned #flabbergasted #theendishere
Here's the official Marriott statement:
Hotel Basics / Front Desk Guy / Aditya Rajaram / Hotel WiFi / Hotel Bathrooms / Hotel Toiletries / → All Tags
Earlier, we gave you 10 Basic Things a Hotel Must Offer Guests, no matter what the service level, as these basics are the core of any hospitality offering.
Those requirements ranged from security to cleanliness to service responsiveness. However, as the industry has evolved, the needs of guests too, have evolved. The constant demands for technology and customization have elevated the need for hotels across all service levels to keep up with these demands and ensure that they offer them through accessible and affordable options. Here are some of those requirements that have become, The Basics 2.0.
We'll be continually posting new "basics" so if you've got an idea for one, let us know.
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After a Courtyard by Marriott in Manhattan was embarrassingly outed for "code injecting" a few years back, we kinda thought that Marriott International would learn from this lesson and drop all their WiFi shenanigans, especially after telling us how much of a priority free and working WiFi are for them. But no.
On Friday, news came out that the Federal Communications Commission fined Marriott Hotels $600,000 for blocking mobile WiFi hotspots at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville back in March of 2013. (Marriott took over the property in 2012.) In blocking these hotspots, Marriott then charged conference attendees, exhibitors and small businesses between $250 and $1,000 per device to connect to the hotel's own network. #heinous.
However, those shenanigans have caught up with them. Now, after forking over $600,000 in fines, Marriott will also have to send "compliance and usage reports to the FCC every three months for the next three years." So, you'd expect Marriott to finally learn their lesson after this ruling. Nope. Read this statement they released, which Loyalty Lobby posted up:
The business center at the Atlas. At least this internet is free
One of the most important questions to take into account when picking a hotel? Whether or not there is free WiFi. You know how we feel about this at HotelChatter. It is imperative to our stay. We would not stay in a hotel with paid for WiFi.
But what’s almost worse than charging for WiFi? Advertising it as free, but actually imposing limits. We already told you about one reader’s encounter with a Fairfield Inn that had a limit of one device per guest, but we can go one better with our stay at the Atlas Hotel in Brussels last week.
The Atlas is a really nice, fashion-themed three star hotel in a great area of the city. It has OCD-friendly disposable coffee cups. It’s lovely. And it trumpets its “FREE Wireless High Speed Internet Access in ALL ROOMS, the Lounge, the Breakfast room and the Conference room” (sic) on its homepage.
The Atlas doles out the WiFi via individual codes at the front desk. We were given one, which we immediately tapped into our phone. We asked for another for our computer. And were told that there was a one code per room policy.
One device per room in one of the business centers of Europe? One device per room when you’re selling doubles, twins and duplexes? One device per room in 2014? Non non non, c'est pas possible!
Hotels are feeling the need for speed--fast WiFi speed.
We've been focusing a lot on speed in our last few WiFi Reports and we've been making notes as we go along on some of the faster WiFi speeds that we encounter across the world.
The list, which includes airports and beaches, was created using WiFi speed data collected from 45 million hotspots from April 1 to June 15 of this year. And not so surprisingly, the majority of the brands in the list are budget brands who offer WiFi for free. Here's the wefi list below, including the average speeds of the hotel brand's WiFi signal and our own notes on whether the WeFi, er, WiFi is free or not:
In our Annual WiFi Report the other week we called out 10 hotel brands that still have the nerve to charge for WiFi in 2014. We also gave big-ups to the hotel brands and individual hotels who've made free and working WiFi a priority for their guests.
Yet what a hotel brand aims to give their guests doesn't always get executed in real life, especially amongst such a heavily franchised brand like Fairfield. About a week after we praised Marriott, we received an email from a guest while staying at a Fairfield Inn. According to her, the hotel had free WiFi but they also had a limit of one device per guest. To hook up an extra device to the WiFi would cost another $3.95 a day.
We've heard of device limits at hotels before, but usually for more than two. So you can usually hook up your laptop and your phone, but then your tablet would be an extra charge. However, this guest claims that all Fairfield Inns are going to start implementing the extra device charge after one device. She writes:
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Some like it hot. But more people like it free. We're talking about WiFi here.
In the wake of all of our WiFi news from last week, we've got some great news from the land Down Under, where getting free WiFi or even cheap WiFi is never easy. In fact, it's almost impossible. But not anymore.
Starting this week, Amalgamated Holdings Limited will be offering guests at all their hotels complimentary WiFi to browse the web, check email and Instagram the cool rooms (or so the hotel group hopes.)
Take it from us, WiFi doesn't come cheap at hotels in Oz. We've been offered up some connectivity if we forked over anywhere from $15 to $29.90 per day. Yes, we said per day! Now, you see why this is such a big deal for an entire portfolio of over 40 hotels to ante up some WiFi as part of the nightly rate.
Let this be a little message to other hotels, just do it already! Offering this service can't be that hard, can it?
Is this chick a basic (internet) bitch?
But if you're staying in a hotel, it's good to be basic. By that we mean, you only use the internet for basic tasks like checking your email, updating your Facebook status, and reading your favorite websites. If you aren't basic, then you're probably going to have to cough up a few dollars to get some high-speed, high-quality internet so you can download you're favorite TV show or movie.
But if you don't mind that Buzzfeed or the Daily Mail takes a minute to load, then go on with your basic self!
Are you a basic internet user? Or do you often pay to get the higher bandwidth option? Tell us what kind of internet user you are in comments below!
To all the hotels out there that still insist on charging for WiFi, consider this comment we just received:
Earlier this month I stayed at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley which provides WiFi in the room for $12.99 a day!
When I questioned this they told me that I had the option of using the free WiFi in the Lobby, which didn't help me when I needed to check my email while still in pajamas at 6:00AM.
Other than the WiFi situation the hotel was great, but it's the only reason I need to ensure I never book this hotel again.
It's a shame that they will lose my future business over a ridiculous WiFi fee, but I'm guessing I'm not the only one.
The flagship Hilton brand and its luxury properties (Conrad and Waldorf Astoria) still charge in the guestrooms as do Embassy Suites and DoubleTree by Hilton, while the "focused service" and extended-stay brands--Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites-- typically have it for free. Hilton has also introduced a tiered WiFi structure for guests who need more than just basic internet.
But beyond the actual physical WiFi offerings, Hilton has also introduced a personal service--The StayConnected Program which includes a 24-hour dedicated call center to help guests with their WiFi issues while traveling.
The program also allows owners and operators access their bandwidth usage so they can better understand the needs of guests coming into their hotel. Which should be pretty simple--we all need fast, working WiFi. So give guests the best network that you can.
For more on who's still charging for WiFi and why, read our 2014 Annual Hotel WiFi Report.